As far apart theologically and politically as the main characters in The Two Popes are—presiding pontiff Joseph Ratzinger (Anthony Hopkins) and future pope Jorge Bergoglio (Jonathan Pryce)—they share a deep commitment to a life of faith. As long as the movie centers that common ground, it works. The first half, which seems intent on lionizing the progressive Bergoglio while vilifying the conservative Ratzinger, seems intent on stacking the decks (the lighting even favors Bergoglio in many scenes). But later, when we learn more about Bergoglio’s complicated past in Argentina, things become more nuanced. I wish the motivation behind Ratzinger’s decision to resign was explored a bit more (even if that would have involved speculation on the part of screenwriter Anthony McCarten) and that director Fernando Meirelles (City of God) didn’t feel the need to gussy up what is essentially a two-person chamber piece with frequent zooms and insert shots. But whenever the film settles on the two leads—who both melt into these real-world personas so thoroughly that Hannibal Lecter himself is soon forgotten—it becomes an intimate portrait of faith as a struggle, even for those at the very top.